CINCINNATI – After each eking out narrow wins in the previous round, No. 1-seed FC Cincinnati plays host to the No. 5-seed New York Red Bulls II on Saturday afternoon at Nippert Stadium in the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2018 USL Cup Playoffs with the Red Bulls II looking to advance to the conference final for a third consecutive season as it squares off with the 2018 USL Regular Season champion. #CINvNY kicks off at 4 p.m. ET and can be watched live on ESPN+ in the United States and YouTube internationally, and followed live via the USL Match Center.
@FCCincinnati advanced past the conference quarterfinals for the first time in its history with a 6-5 victory in a penalty shootout last Saturday against No. 8-seed Nashville SC after the teams had ended deadlocked in a 1-1 draw through 120 minutes of action. The result extended FCC’s undefeated streak to 24 games in league play, a run that began with a 2-1 victory against the Red Bulls II on June 2 when Cincinnati rallied to win at Red Bull Arena. FCC also recorded a 2-1 victory against New York at Nippert Stadium on July 21, although the Red Bulls II’s Tom Barlow almost found a stoppage-time equalizer for the visitors in that contest as he hit the crossbar with a late chance.
@NYRBII’s consistent year-on-year playoff success continued as it defeated the No. 4-seed Charleston Battery 1-0 at MUSC Health Stadium to give New York victories in each of the past four seasons. Barlow scored the lone goal midway through the first half to send the Red Bulls II past the Battery for a second consecutive postseason. The win was New York’s third consecutive road victory after the side had gone winless in its first 15 away games of the season, and its fourth consecutive win overall as the 2016 USL Cup champion has hit its stride in the past month.
3 – Emmanuel Ledesma had a hand in three of Cincinnati’s goals in two games against New York this season, scoring one goal in the first meeting on June 2 and then providing both assists in the 2-1 win on July 21.
10 – New York’s 10 road draws were the most by any team in the 2018 regular season.
FiveThirtyEight.com Match Predictor: FC Cincinnati 74%, New York Red Bulls II 26%
FC Cincinnati – GK: Spencer Richey; D: Justin Hoyte, Paddy Barrett, Forrest Lasso, Blake Smith; DM: Fatai Alashe, Tyler Gibson; AM: Emmanuel Ledesma, Nazmi Albadawi, Corben Bone; F: Fanendo Adi
New York Red Bulls II – GK: Evan Louro; D: Ethan Kutler, Hassan Ndam, Kevin Politz, Allen Yanes; DM: Andrew Tinari, Chris Lema; AM: Amando Moreno, Jose Aguinaga, Jared Stroud; F: Tom Barlow
Cincinnati – None
New York – None
REF: Tim Ford
AR1: Trent Robert Van Haitsma
AR2: Cory Richardson
4TH: Lukasz Szpala